Each year, the American Veterinary Medical Association sponsors National Pet Week during the second full week in May. This awareness campaign is a fun way to provide resources for pet owners, teaching material for teachers, and information about veterinary careers. If you’re fortunate to have the love of a pet in your life, you owe it to him to be a responsible pet owner and care for his health. Here are several suggestions from the AMVA:
- Avoid impulsive decisions when bringing home a new pet and only select one that is suited to your family’s lifestyle. Commit to providing your pet a home for life and make sure that you have the resources and time to provide food, water, healthcare, and companionship.
- Understand that having a dog, cat, or other type of pet will require some financial sacrifices. Try to put aside some money for emergencies and make sure that you bring your pet in for regular preventive care exams.
- Be a good neighbor by not allowing your pet to roam, cleaning up after her, and obeying all local ordinances regarding pet registration, leash use, and noise control.
- Identify your pet with a tag, collar, and microchip to improve his chances of reuniting with you if he ever gets lost.
- Spay or neuter your pet as soon as possible. This can be done as early as six months of age.
- Make sure you have a disaster plan that includes your pet and make arrangements as early as possible if your health declines to the point of not being able to care for her anymore.
- Feed your pet nutritious food and be certain that he gets plenty of exercise as these will both contribute to a healthy weight.
- Keep up with your veterinarian’s recommendations for vaccines against rabies, parvovirus, distemper, panleukopenia, and other potentially deadly diseases.
- Use products meant to control fleas, ticks, heartworm, and other parasites to improve your pet’s comfort and reduce the risk of contracting a serious illness.